Home is a very strong word. Different things point to home for different people. For the sailor in me, the sea points to home and when the sails go up I sit quietly reminded that there is another journey that I must go on to satisfy my spirit. The traveler in me longs for a view out of an airplane window while ancient voices point me to an unknown home somewhere in the world.
It has been said that, “A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.” I’ve never understood that much less had a home or feared loneliness. Going into the woods alone for a week is as much going home for me as is a fundamental appreciation of the traditional concept of home is for others.
I didn’t grow up thinking of running away from home; I’m not sure if I thought I didn’t have a home or didn’t need a home. I believed home was somewhere and perhaps I would magically end up there. But I knew it wasn’t where I was.
When I left my parent’s house, I felt I was escaping. I’m not sure what I thought I had escaped but then I ran into myself. This was the instigator for my self-creating life and opened me to simple words from a kind gentlewoman that sealed the deal.
The next 28 years I had nice places to live but was homeless. Oh yes, I found the right wall colors, temporarily fell in love with some of the stuff that occupied the space with me, planted roses by my front door, invited friends for dinners. However, my best breakfasts were not at my places of residence and remembrances of lingering café mornings made me lonesome for somewhere else.
The sense that I must find my true home always came with a sense of loss. Fuelled by faded memories, I began to accept I didn’t need a home and began to imagine a character who would do just that.
The idea that I needed my true home felt like an obligation to render an account. I was my own true friend and, in spite of unsolicited comments from well-meaning friends: “Home is where your story begins” and “home is where the heart is” these were no match for my commitment to “the more I do, see and feel, the more I am able to do therefore home is not for me”. My spirit constantly confirmed my choice to not sit home and think about what I could do but told me to be genuine to my soul.
I didn’t avoid my family but reunions were always slightly bittersweet because as much as there were nice things in terms of seeing them again, everything had changed and I was simply no longer a part of it. I took the approach of asking family members on brief trips and brought my father to Europe for the trip of his life. It seemed we couldn’t bring ourselves to talk about anything but ordinary everyday things. We didn’t get any closer but I gained more understanding of fundamental things like home and companionship.
Several weeks after our time in Europe, I wrote in my journal:
“Love should begin at home, but should not stay there”.
My journal pages continued to fill with no-home oriented wisdom:
“I’m wild and remain a hermit in my own mind.”
“Fears, like chickens, come home to roost.”
“Inaction brings fear and doubt. Action breeds confidence.”
Entries were free of emotion and not of the past but shared the excitement of adventure with my natural inclinations.
Pinching every Euro, I had lived in and travelled Europe for more than two years writing my book when a glorious island appeared and cleaved my heart and soul lacerating my homeless acceptance.
I had been to the greatest European cities, married my authenticity and experienced adventure without longing for a true home but a brief time ashore assured me this was my true home.
Even though my tiny, 800 square foot villetta is the only affordable rental on the island and doesn’t have a closet, everyone can see I have found my true home. I glow and finally have a place to call home.
Because immigration requirements mandate I limit the days I can stay in the country each six months, I happily continue my adventures outside of the EU. I have gratitude for knowing a sense of longing and how it feels when I settle back into my true home.
Joke for you:
A friend called me up and said, ‘Come on over, there’s nobody home.’ I went over. Nobody was home.